Can you believe it? December is half way through and the holidays are upon us. For many, the holiday season is a time of vibrant celebration filled with meaningful traditions. Though this season can often be stressful, lonely and tiresome, it also brings fellowship with friends and family, intentional times of reflection and gratitude, and extra events or activities of fun and adventure
What a joy it is to recognize that each of us celebrate this season in unique and special ways. As an online school community, our students, families, instructors and staff live all around the world, immersed in their own unique cultures and heritages. Though we often don’t realize it, this online community of CMASAS is brimming with multicultural traditions, celebrations, practices and beliefs.
Take a moment to consider and then celebrate the cultural and familial traditions of the people around you, and the ones you yourself hold dear. For what is this season without unity, positivity, and love for one another?
Some of the CMASAS staff wanted to share their holiday traditions with you. We wish you all a happy, safe, and blessed holiday season.
This year, instead of filling our "Advent Church" with candy, I filled it with slips of paper. Small things we can do each day, together as a family, to be in the holiday spirit each day from Dec 1-25. So far we have sang Christmas carols, donated food, made a gift for loved ones and had a Hot Cocoa date with Mommy. So far, so good!
Every year at Christmas time when I was a kid, I used to sit on my stool in the kitchen and watch my mom make the most delicious candy ever. I remember how excited I would get. Not just because I knew that for the next few days I would get to have A LOT of these delicious treats, but because it was awesome watching her make them. She always said, "If you don't make them with love, they won't taste as yummy." So I watched her and helped her carefully and lovingly make hundreds of these candies to share with our friends and family. Friends and family that would always be just as excited to receive them as I was to help make them. It was a tradition. A tradition that I loved. A tradition that I have proudly taken over. Now, every year, my kids sit on a stool in my kitchen helping me make the same special candy with as much love and excitement as I did when I was young. It's my favorite tradition we do for the holidays. One that I hope my kids will continue when they are grown.
CMASAS Administrative Assistant
Our family has a tradition to start the season off by going to a Madrigal, a classic Christmas tradition. This 16th century-style banquet is set in the grandeur of a Castle and includes singing, 16th century entertainment performances, and a four course meal. It is great fun and sets the stage for the entire season.
Assistant Director of Instructional Design
We hide baby Jesus until Christmas morning when he appears in the manger. Additionally we give Happy Birthday Jesus gifts to our children. They are usually more spiritual gifts and they are allowed to open these gifts on Christmas Eve as we prepare for the birth of Jesus. For example, this year I am giving each of them their life verse on a picture that is made of wood. I don’t know if you have ever heard of www.photobarn.com, but I order many of their products and this is where I ordered their bible verses.
Personalized Education Coach
In Portland, OR, where I live, there are several fabulous holiday light displays. Every year we catch at least one of them--often more. The zoo is decorated with millions of colorful lights, depicting elaborate animal scenes and various festive displays. It is especially beautiful in the rain (which we have a lot of!), as the lights reflect off the wet ground.
\I also recently made my own wreath using fresh greenery to hang on our front door. It is beautiful and was so easy! Anyone can do it! Use any greens you have access to--cedar, laurel, pine, fir, boxwood, etc. and add in some different textures and colors with sprigs of rosemary, holly berries, pinecones, etc. Here's a link to help you along.
Personalized Education Coach
The Winter Solstice (aka Yule) is very important in our northern part of the world, not just for spiritual reasons but because it marks when the days will finally start to get longer again. We gather together for food, drink, storytelling, and - in most of the gatherings - a bonfire and a hot tub in close proximity to each other. It's also common to walk the Labyrinth or along a forest path; coloring or even creating a mandala; or engaging in other activities that inspire mindfulness for planning the new year.
A holiday activity that I love and suggest others try is candle-making. You can get kits at most craft stores if you don't already have supplies. You can decorate the candle with symbols that have meaning for you, or that you simply enjoy. You can also make them as gifts for others, thoughtfully selecting scents, colors, and other decor to match each person. Decoration can be done with dye, objects that are safe to put into the candle, or by carving patterns or images into the candle after releasing it from the mold. If your faith allows, you can also put forth positive thoughts or intentions into the candle that you then either gift or light for your holiday of choice.